'The Nikon 1 is the best mirrorless system. Period!' Revisited.

Nikon 1 V1 18.5mm f/1.8 lens

I wrote the headline at the top as a way of getting some attention, but there was an element of truth in it for me. Now I'm not going to argue that the Nikon 1 IS the 'best' mirrorless system, because I don't think it is, but I am beginning to think that the Nikon 1 V1 is my personal favourite amongst all of the Mirrorless / CSC / E.V.I.L gear I've used.

Now I would have been seriously surprised if you had said that I would write something like that a few months ago. And I imagine some are surprised now. What follows are my reasons for that.

However before I do that, I need to make one thing clear. I don't do these things, and make these decisions on a capricious whim. I am in no position to be able to pick on an 'amateur' or 'enthusiast' system or whatever you want to call it, and champion it just because I feel like being perverse or I'm a biased, dogmatic Nikon fanboy. I need to be sure that what I go out shooting with will be of benefit for me in the process of earning my living, and I certainly wouldn't buy into a system like I have with this one without being sure that it served my purposes. 

Having said that, the reasons I'm so enthusiastic about the Nikon 1 V1 and the lenses I've bought are as follows.

I love the quality of the construction and design of both camera and lenses and how this impacts positively on the handling. I also like the size and the weight of both the camera and the lenses and how the two match up so well, which is far from the case with other systems. I like the quality of the files and though its only a 10MP camera, I can overcome that with either 'stitching' multi-images together or by simple upsizing, both of which work very well indeed. I like the 'photographic' sensibility that the camera seems to have. A picture taking machine first and foremost. I appreciate the simple well laid out menus, the virtually 100% foolproof metering, the built-in viewfinder, the electronic shutter and the superb VR in the lenses, which allow me to use almost ridiculous shutter speeds.(1/8th. sec. with the 6.7-13mm zoom) I like the range of lenses which though still small, works for me, I like the fact that I can get my whole outfit plus spare battery plus charger plus some SD cards in a small shoulder bag. I like the really impressive video, the fact I can use my Nikon F lenses for long telephoto work and the impressive life from the same battery I use in my D800E and D7100. And of course I love the fact that I can get huge depth-of-field in the majority of the pictures I take.

To be honest I've never had so many positives in one camera, and certainly never before in anything I've used from m4/3 or Sony NEX. I should make it clear that this a personal preference and I'm certainly not going to recommend people to go out and get one. It may be right for me, but I suspect its totally wrong for a lot of people. 

After listing all those positives for my enthusiasm for the Nikon 1 system, there is something else that makes me like the system that is very personal and somewhat 'airy-fairy' to say the least. I just love how the files look. This was, I think my biggest surprise. For me these just aren't like the digital looking files I was expecting at all. This is going to sound odd and possibly a bit pretentious and the 'kings new clothes' but for me there is a real, film-like depth in the pictures I'm creating from the V1. The best way I can explain it is that they look a bit 'gritty'. OK I know what you are going to say, that's just luminance noise from the small sensor, but to me its not that. Perhaps the best way is for me to show a couple of examples from two of the pictures I'm posting at the end of this article.



I did think when I first looked at some of the files I had shot at 100% how much they reminded me of film scans. Still not convinced? Well I'm not especially surprised, as I indicated this is pixel-peeping gone mad, but then I'm happy that I can see it, so thats all that matters really.

Finally here are some of the pictures I shot on a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon the other day.

 Nikon 1 V1 10-30mm f/1.8 - multi image
panoramic stitch

 Nikon 1 V1 30-110mm - multi image
panoramic stitch

Nikon 1 V1 30-110mm


Nikon 1 V1 10-30mm - multi image
panoramic stitch